The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has awarded a $6.6m grant to support the berth deepening project at the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore.

The funding is part of DOT’s Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant funding and will help the port to build a second 50ft-deep container berth at its Seagirt Marine Terminal.

For the $32.7m berth deepening project, Port of Baltimore will also receive $7.8m from the state of Maryland, and $18.4m from Ports America Chesapeake, which operates Seagirt Marine Terminal on behalf of Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) Maryland Port Administration.

Once completed, the new berth will enable the port to accommodate two supersized container ships simultaneously.

Construction of the berth is expected to begin in the second half of next year and is scheduled to be completed within a year from the date of construction.

DOT has awarded $20m grant for the Belvidere Road Interchange Project under the BUILD grant.

“The new berth will enable the port to accommodate two supersized container ships simultaneously.”

Announcing the grants, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said: “Our administration is committed to expanding Maryland’s transportation network, and these projects will support thousands of new jobs and spur economic growth and development in every corner of our state.”

Seagirt Marine Terminal currently has one 50ft deep draft berth, which was built as part of a public-private partnership deal signed in 2010 between Port of Baltimore and Ports America Chesapeake.

Port of Baltimore handles the highest number of traffic in terms of autos and light trucks, roll on/roll off heavy farm and construction machinery, and imported sugar across the US.

The port supported about 13,650 direct jobs, and nearly 127,600 jobs in Maryland are linked to various port activities.